Ja poverty declines

Jamaica has, reportedly, had another slight decline in the country’s incidence of poverty, with the percentage of the population below the poverty line moving down to 14.3 per cent in 2006.

This is half-a-per cent down from the 14.8 per cent recorded in 2005.

The latest decline is, reportedly, one of the main findings in the ‘2006 Survey of Living Conditions’, produced by the Planning Institute of Jamaica.

It is a smaller dip, however, than that recorded the previous year when the survey reported a startling 2.1 per cent drop in the incidence of poverty.

Details of the survey will be provided by the PIOJ soon but, in the meantime, Faith Innerarity, permanent secretary (acting) in the Ministry of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports, yesterday provided a glimpse at some of its findings.

Mrs. Innerarity, speaking at this week’s post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House, St. Andrew, said household consumption was used as a ‘proxy’ for the measurement of poverty, and that it was this measurement that was therefore, indicating the latest improvement.

Giving a few other highlights from the survey, she said the data continued to reflect “the expanding working-age population” and the declining “birth age dependency burden”. This, she said, was “indicative of some kind of window of opportunity resulting from declining fertility and mortality”.

Another important indicator, she said, was a marked improvement in school attendance, influenced by the support students were receiving through the Programme for Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH).

PATH provides financial support for a significant number of poor families with school-aged children, with an emphasis on school attendance as a means of ultimately helping that family out of the poverty trap.

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